Waikato District Council is unable to offer its resource consent pre-application service for at least four months, as staff deal with large numbers of consent applications and the impacts of Covid-19.
Customer Support General Manager Sue O’Gorman says several factors have contributed to Council’s decision to pause the service.
“Staff in the Resource Consents team are currently experiencing an unprecedented demand for consenting services due to the rapid growth across the district. This, along with the release of decisions on the Proposed District Plan, and negative impacts on the team from the wave of Omicron, means we cannot deliver the same level of service we have in the past. On top of this, there is a national shortage of planners and engineers due to the huge volume of work across the country.”
The Consents team process all applications that require a consent, including subdivisions and land use consent applications. The pre-application service is offered to customers to help them understand if they need a consent, or to help them prepare their application before they lodge a consent. It is a non-statutory service that is offered by the Consents team.
“Not all councils provide this service, and many that do have found themselves in the same situation we are and have had to stop this service.”
“We have brought extra staff on board and are also using external contractors, but the volume of work across the country means it has been difficult to get the extra resource we need. Pausing the pre-application service will allow staff to focus on processing the large volume of resource consent applications Council is currently receiving, within the statutory timeframes.”
“We know the pre application service benefits our customers, and our staff take pride in providing support and helping customers prepare their resource consent applications but unfortunately, for now, we just can’t continue to offer this service. We know that this will be disappointing for people, but we ask for your patience as the Resource Consent Team work hard to process the applications and enquiries you submit with us.”
Council will review this decision at the end of July to see if it is able to resume the service once the Omicron wave has passed.
Customers can continue to contact Council’s Duty Planning services for information and advice on how to lodge an application. However, for the same reasons, this may take longer than the usual five-day service.
- Check out our web page to find the information you need
- View the Ministry for the Environment’s online resource consent guide.
- Before lodging your consent application, make sure every part of the application form is complete, and you have attached all the required documents that support it.
- If you are unsure about the process or information required, or have a complex proposal, we recommend you hire a professional planning consultant or surveyor to assist with your application.
- On average, 200-240 people use the pre application service each year. Over the past two years this has increased by approximately 20%
- The number of people using Council’s free Duty Panning service increased by 42% last year
- Resource consent applications increased by 26% last year (2020/2021), on top of the 24% increase in the previous year (2019/2020)